China pollution may hold silver lining for California

BEIJING — As Gov. Jerry Brown tours some of China’s economic hubs this week, he is breathing the kind of heavy, soiled air that blanketed Los Angeles decades ago.

The soot and smog that are byproducts of this country’s industrial progress are choking its people and threatening its economy. Chinese leaders are talking openly about the need to clean up the air, and to learn how from California.

California’s environmental laws: Job creators, not job killers

Who knew that being a smoggy place might be good for business?

Gov. Jerry Brown is in China, and one of the things he’s pitching is California’s expertise in dealing with smog. Because if there’s one thing we have in common with the Chinese, it’s air pollution.

Now, some of what Brown is doing is, well, kind of squishy. As my colleague Anthony York reported:

On Wednesday, he held a private meeting with Environmental Protection Minister Zhou Shengxian. They signed a nonbinding agreement “to enhance cooperation on reducing air pollution,” the first such accord between China’s government and a U.S. state and one of several Brown is scheduled to secure while here.

Under the pact, California will help China set up institutions to regulate air quality, similar to those the state has established, and the two nations will engage in research projects “of mutual interest.”